What to Know Before Buying a Stand-On Mower

Updated: Jan. 15, 2024

In the market for a riding lawn mower, but don't want the low back pain that often comes from too much sitting? Then consider a stand-on mower!

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When most people think of lawn mowers, they picture machines of two types: walk behind and riding models. Walk-behind mowers can be push powered or self-propelled, and are best for smaller lawns. Riding lawn mowers are bigger, more powerful and better suited to larger yards. Here is our list of the best riding lawn mowers.

Trouble is, not everyone with lots of grass to mow wants to sit on a noisy, vibrating machine for hours. Sitting may be comfortable, but studies show that doing it for too long may increase low back pain. That’s where the best stand-on mowers can help.

While you’re at it, figure out if you should let your child mow the lawn.

What Is a Stand-On Mower?

Stand-on mowers come in sizes and power levels similar to many riding machines, with one key feature missing — the seat. Instead, there’s a small foot platform at the back of the machine. Stand-on mowers let you mow your lawn without shortening your hip flexors by sitting.

Most stand-on mowers are zero-turn mowers, which means they can turn on a dime with no extra space needed to round corners. With the easily accessible steering controls, stand-on machines have several advantages over their riding counterparts. However, they’re not for everyone. Here are the best accessible lawn mowers for disabled people.

Most stand-on mowers are twice the price (or more) of an equally large and powerful riding zero-turn machine. This price differential will likely even out in time. But for now, landscaping pros buy and use most stand-on mowers.

Benefits of a Stand-On Mower

Here are seven reasons to consider a stand-on mower:

  • Less chance of low back pain and shortened hip flexors from extensive sitting.
  • Vibration from the running engine doesn’t radiate into the low back nearly as much while standing.
  • Lack of seat and arm rests makes mounting and dismounting a stand-on mower quicker.
  • Stand-on mowers are better on uneven terrain, because the operator can shift their body weight from side to side, as needed.
  • Much greater power and speed than walk-behind mowers.
  • Wider mower deck than almost all walk-behind mowers.
  • The higher vantage point gives you a better view of your surroundings as you mow.

Stand-On Mower Considerations

Take these factors into account as you ponder which type of mower is best for you:

Yard size

The size of your yard affects the type of mower you buy. Got a big yard without many tightly spaced obstacles? A stand-on model with a mower deck 54 inches or wider will make quick work of even the largest yards.

Like the idea of a stand-on mower, but don’t have acres of grass to cut? Consider a machine with a 36-inch mower deck. For most medium to small yards, a traditional riding or push mower is often the best choice.


If you’ve a got a large lawn and lots of trees or other obstacles to mow around, a zero-turn mower is probably your best bet. If you’ve got lots of tightly spaced obstacles, a stand-on model will give slightly better maneuverability than a riding zero-turn machine. The reason is length. Get to know the difference between a zero-turn versus a riding mower.

Riding mowers are longer because of the seat, making them less suited for mowing in tight quarters. Lightweight push and self-propelled walk-behind mowers can get into the tightest corners, but not without a little wrangling.

Sitting vs. standing

Stand-on mower manufactures say that the benefits of owning one of their machines are life changing. I don’t agree. Although your low back will almost certainly be better off with a stand-on model, the other advantages over a sitting model are minor.

Even the low back health point doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ve used a zero-turn riding mower for years without any mowing-related low back pain. Bottom line: There’s no need to overthink things. If you prefer standing, and can afford it, you should buy a stand-on mower. Otherwise, go ahead and purchase a traditional riding machine.

Commercial vs. Residential Stand-On Mowers

Commercial lawn mowers are made to operate 12 hours a day, cutting a dozen or more lawns every day, whereas residential lawn mowers are made to cut the grass once or twice per week. That translates into larger, more durable parts for commercial mowers, including the engines. It’s not unusual to find faster blade speeds on commercial mowers, which helps make cutting faster and prevents clumping. ( Learn more about the sharpness of these blades).  Commercial mowers are typically more expensive too.

Best Stand-On Mower Brands

Though stand-on mowers aren’t as common as other types of riding mowers, you’ll find options available from the larger, more recognizable lawn mower brands and manufacturers. John Deere makes several models, as well as Toro and Cub Cadet.

Next: learn about lawn mower maintenance and how to store lawn mowers for winter.